When a person doesn’t feel well he goes to a doctor who diagnoses his condition and prescribes a treatment. If the condition is a serious one then he may need to go to a specialist. So too Rebbe Nachman offers a diagnosis to every person at every age and in every situation in life, offering advice – treatment – as to what can be done. Rebbe Nachman is the all around specialist.
In Breslov Therapy, the following material is used:
1- Likutey Eitzot (Advice)
2- The Kitzur (Abridged) Likutey Moharan
3- Likutey Moharan
4- Likutey Tefilot (The Fiftieth Gate)
5- Likutey Halachot.
The very first step is to do what is called hitbodedut – secluded meditation. In hitbodedut one should attempt to pinpoint what one feels to be the root attribute in preventing one’s personal development in life.
One will find attributes and characteristics in oneself grouped in two categories: 1-cause/root attributes. 2- effect/resulting attributes. For example, one may suffer from haughtiness and anger. Haughtiness could be the “cause” for the “resulting” anger.
Thus haughtiness is a root attribute that requires priority attention.
Once you have located what you feel to be the “root” cause to other negative attributes, take a look at the book Advice/Likutey Eitzot in the chapter which closest relates to your root. Eg. for haughtiness take a look at the chapter Pride and Humility
After looking up the whole chapter, see which paragraph most relates to what you are going through. Then look up the corresponding lesson in The Kitzur (abridged) Likutey Moharan. Eg. paragraph 21 reads: Humility protects against sexual temptation. Pride arouses it (130). The number (130) refers to lesson 130.
It happens sometimes that you relate to several paragraphs in a single chapter, and you just don’t know which one to choose. If this happens take a look at the corresponding lessons in the Kitzur Likutey Moharan and see if your variety of choice still stands or not. If you still cannot choose between several lessons, then take a look at the corresponding prayers on the lessons in the Likutey Tefilot – Fiftieth Gate.
Once you have found what you feel to be the “right” lesson. Start reviewing the actual lesson in the Likutey Moharan over and over again along with the corresponding prayer in Likutey Tefilot.
Get so associated and adjusted to the lesson until you practically know it by heart. As you continue to review, the lesson begins to literally turn “alive” illuminating your life: You can use your life experiences to perceive the lesson, and also use the lesson to perceive your life. All the while continually saying the corresponding prayer along with your own additions.
Learning the lesson in Likutey Moharan activates the actual remedies, guidelines and advices in your life. The more you review the lesson (seeking deeper insight) the more refined and acute is the remedy. Praying to attain the lesson’s themes directs this “remedy” to where the spiritual wound is located.
This can be compared to having the right medication, but if you don’t apply it to the actual wound, it won’t help that much. So too, Rebbe Nachman’s deep, profound words actually create a spiritual remedy, but if you don’t daven to HaShem to direct the spiritual doses in the right area, you won’t get that far. Judaism is based mainly on articulation – in torah and prayer.
Thus far, we have 2 stages in Breslov Therapy: The diagnosis and treatment. The diagnosis is finding the right lesson that relates to you and the treatment in itself has 2 parts: learning the lesson to activate the remedy and davening about it through the Likutey Tefilot on the lesson joined with your own personal hitbodedut.
However, like in any surgery/treatment if there is no pain-killer the treatment hurts, especially in this case where the Rebbe’s teachings are going straight to the core of all physical/spiritual maladies. For this, one requires an anesthesiologist. Rebbe Nachman’s advice is to always carry along with you two lessons and constantly go with them – lesson 282 and 195.
By going over the lesson and accompanying prayer the treatment is in process. The next stage is the recovery process. This is the Likutey Halachot.
Likutey Halakhot shows you how to implement and apply the lesson’s themes, ideals and practical ramifications in day to day life, and how these items are found hidden and underlying various subjects in the Torah.
At the back of every standard edition of Likutey Moharan, you have an index showing the various discourses in Likutey Halachot that are based on a particular lesson in Likutey Moharan (for more details see “The Methodology of Likutey Halachot” at the appendix to the book “Through Fire and Water”)
1) The diagnosis is learning the right lesson in Likutey Moharan that relates exactly to what you presently need, offering you advice as to what to go about doing.
2) The actual surgery/therapy/treatment is in itself 2 stages – a) learning the holy words of the lesson have the power to activate the remedy while b) davening about the lesson using the Likutey Tefilot, Tehillim and especially your own hitbodedut “directs” the remedy to the appropriate place.
3) The recovery stage using the Likutey Halachot which guides you how to implement the lessons ramifications in your life on a broader scale to cover just about every area in life.Although note: since the process is painful you will need constant dosages of lesson 282 (Azamra) and 195. Also, these 3 stages may be done simultaneously.
The lesson in Likutey Moharan should be reviewed over and over again until you literally know it almost by heart. While reviewing questions will and should pop up. You may reach a point where the lesson might become a bit dry. At this point you should go a step deeper and begin to delve into the main commentaries on Likutey Moharan.
There are 4 main commentaries on the Likutey Moharan: 1) Parparaot LeChochmah 2) BeIbey HaNachal 3) Mey HaNachal 4) Biur HaLikutim.
As you learn the lesson with these commentaries, you will notice that they ask most of the questions that you yourself had (it makes you feel good that you are at least on the right track!!!).
Furthermore they will arouse your attention to newer and deeper perceptions into the lesson which will only enhance your feeling and excitement to connect with the “soul” of the lesson.
This is especially true with the fourth commentary, the Biur HaLikutim. Biur HaLikutim is a very, very deep commentary on the Likutey Moharan, which requires you to be totally absorbed into the lesson in order to actually understand what he is saying. The author developed 18 rules to learning the Likutey Moharan which he culled from the writings of Reb Noson.
With all this simultaneous input from the Likutey Moharan, Likutey Tefilot, Likutey Halachot, etc. you will amazingly see how your whole life will presently revolve around the lesson. You will be able to connect everything in life as hints to the lesson, from your daily prayer services to your spouse’s latest arguments.
For most people entering the Likutey Moharan with its accompanying commentaries is too deep to begin with. Therefore it is highly suggested and recommended to use the BRI’s translation and commentary to the Likutey Moharan.
The commentary collects all the commentaries as they relate to understanding the simple flow of the lesson, along with accompanying background info to all the verses, Talmudic, Midrashic, Zoharic and Kabbalistic quotes that Rebbe Nachman refers to.
The feeling and experience of how Rebbe Nachman “dresses-up” his perception in a Biblical verse or quote from Chazal is truly inspiring. It could literally ignite you with fiery words in your personal hitbodedut. In essence this is the “shpitz” of Breslov Therapy – to renew and enflame yourself with powerful and deep words of prayer to Hashem in order to effect positive changes in life.
People generally ask: Does Breslov Therapy really work? Is it proven and tested? From personal experience of almost 20 years it has helped tremendously!!! However, there are practical hints that you can use to see if you’re headed in the right direction:
1) If things do not change in life – have patience and keep on going until you do see some change.
2) If things start to get worse, this may also be a good sign, as Rebbe Nachman states, that at the beginning of a healing process, the sick person normally gets worse but then gets better.
3) If things get just worse and worse and worse – then you could assume that you are in the wrong direction, and take another lesson to work on.
Another point to take note of – if you do see positive changes in life with a specific lesson, continue until the moment you don’t see or feel any noticeable changes. Know then that you have received the main points of the lesson. Look into another characteristic that you would like to work on.
When getting adjusted to the Likutey Tefilot and Likutey Halachot on the accompanying lesson you will notice that they relate to you more than anything else in life. From this you can see Reb Noson’s greatness, in that he continues to be your best and most understanding friend in life.
If after all is said and done, Breslov Therapy still doesn’t work, then possibly the problem is more profound. I.e. if a person goes to a “doctor” to receive treatment, and then argues with the doctor about his treatment, the patient won’t get too far. One must trust and put his faith in the “doctor” that he is giving the best treatment possible.
So too, for Breslov Therapy to work one must have faith and trust that Rebbe Nachman knows his stuff and offers us the best diagnosis possible to help our situations. A suggestion to build this faith would be to learn the following books: 1) Rabbi Nachman’s Wisdom 2) Tzaddik – A Portrait of Rabbi Nachman.
Another important item which can help is to actually visit the gravesite of Rebbe Nachman in Uman, Ukraine, and simply ask him to open one’s heart and soul to the healing effects of his teachings. Judaism is based on the belief that tzaddikim never die and their spirit can still be found hovering over the grave.
For more info please contact Meir Elkabas: